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tv   [untitled]    January 28, 2013 11:30am-12:00pm PST

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and that day, that brutal, brutal day, you know, i can't imagine what the moscone family went through and is still going through, because this is something you don't get over. and, of course, the lgbt community in addition. you know, we've triumphed, we've said, all right, you might take away the messengers, but you're not going to take away the message. so, long live harvey milk and long live george moscone and long live san francisco. [cheering and applauding] >> thank you very much, assemblyman ammiano. i am now going to introduce jonathan moscone, who is the youngest son of mayor moscone who was really just a young teenager at the time his father was assassinated. jonathan, i've heard you speak before. you're always so inspirational. so, i turn it over to you. thank you so much.
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(applause) >> thanks. i apologize, i had to write my speech so i was running out of time and i'm sorry that i directed such a bad production of wizard of oz for you at the turtle creek round in dallas. maybe you'll forgive me one day. listen, on behalf of my family gina and rebecca and jennifer and christopher, i want to thank you for inviting us to speak today. and although i am the only member of the family to speak today, i'm not speaking on their behalf. the truth is i just like to talk. [laughter] >> in fact, as i am happy to see so many people here as i do, as the comedian paula said, even if you weren't here, i'd still be up here talking. but despite my tendencies towards reliving the admonishment of my fifth grade teacher sister grace who chastised me for having diarrhea of the mouth and constipation of ideas, i took a long while for me to say yes
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when stuart and ann asked me to talk a bit on the day that marks the death of george and harvey. and the reason became clear when i sat down to write my words. i'm exhausted by talking about death. i know that's not the subject of today's memorial, but it always happens on the day that george and harvey were shot. and i think i'm tired of remembering them on the worst day of their lives. i wonder that if indeed there is a heaven, and if george and harvey got in, or perhaps they made it to somewhere a little more hip, a little more happening. they might be sitting up there on november 27th of every year and think, oh, lord, not this again. i mean, it's hard for me to imagine that this would be the day that george moscone and harvey milk would want to remember each and every year. don't get me wrong. i'm deeply touched that people remember my father and i do speak for my family in this regard. we are always and every day grateful that we live in a city
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that does not forget. but there's just something wrong in this notion that the day we remember our lost leaders is the most violent day of their lives, which in the case of my family was the most violent day of ours. it's almost as if we're giving the senselessness of these deaths way too much respect by centering our love and passion and memory and yearning on the day the beating hearts of these two men, hearts that were so brave, so unflinching, so immensely loving so full of life that they seemed larger than life, the day those beating hearts stopped forever. because, let's get this straight, george and harvey did not die noblely. there was no opera music. there was nothing heroic. there was nothing romantic to be found in the loss of my dad's life. it was a senseless act. and i think why that is after all these years of loving to talk at these beautifully intentioned memorials, i can no
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longer bear to remember george on the day of his death. so, i think i'm going to start next year and for years to come to stop remembering november 27th and i'm going to turn back the clock a few days to george's birthday which is november 24th. and i'm going to remember that and i'm going to celebrate that and i'm going to memorialize that for the rest of my life. i'm going to ask my mother gina to remember the day that george asked her to marry him. i'm going to ask my sister rebecca what it was like to play tennis with dad, competing with him to win game, set and match. i'll ask jennifer what it was like to go to the opera with him. or chris how he and dad shared a love of talent, love and talent for basketball, making them heroes, if not studs on and off the courts. i'm going to remember the nights george took me to my first r-rated movie, the longest yard, the original one. or when he bought an alpha romeo much to the delight of his children and ire of his wife.
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our vacations of sea ranch and houses with primer color doors, [speaker not understood] where we skinny dip as a family. i'm going to remember the night george when the mayoral election and we rode up portola and my father extended his arms out as if he owned this town, this town he loved with the fierce heart of his. or stopping at lorenzo's at the end of the columbus day parade for a drink. i'm going to start this kind of memorial next year on george's birthday. and by then, all of the moscone children will have looked past all of george's too brief life and see him as he was, as shakev supervisor aioto-pier's hamlet saw his father, as a man taken for all and all. but unlike hamlet, i shall see the likes of him again. i'll see him everywhere, in every moment i hear willie brown speak. that was beautiful, willie, what you said. and the stories that my friend barbara tells of she and
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husband dick leaving the life of luxury in cleveland to run muni for dad. or of the dmv when a woman behind the counter looks twice at the name of my driver's license and looks up and tells me of the day she met george on the street or worked on george's campaign. or about the time in her life in our city's life when things seemed more touchable, more human, or just tells me that she's honored to meet george moscone's son. or on the first preview of the play that my dear friend tony wrote about george and me, a play called ghost life, and the first public performance up in ashlan, oregon. halfway through the second act, at long last, george shows up and the fractured city hall backdrop begins to fill with floating lights outlining the golden gate bridge and we hear tony bennett sing his legendary recording of "i left my heart in san francisco." and then the character of george, sometimes mouthing the words, sometimes singing them
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quietly, moves towards john without looking, for he cannot look at his son. and he touches john's heart and then he moves away towards the city hall of john's memory and john set the stairs in the way that george did, cocky and sexy, cruel as all get out. and then the song ends. and i notice the woman sitting next to me crying. and after the play is over, after the standing ovation of tony's brave and beautiful play, as people start to leave the theater, this woman, she remains in her chair and it seems she cannot move. i gently asked her if she's all right. and she nods. and she says without looking at me because she couldn't look at me, "i got to see my mayor again." so, maybe through art we can see again. about a month ago i braved going to the sf moment to check out the infamous bust of my dad and all i could remember growing up were the images of
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that controversial pedestal of gunshots and twinkies and don't think i didn't smile when i heard hostess went under. [laughter] (applause) but when i went to see the bust for that first time, a bust that i have to admit captured george's mile wide grin and dramatically imperfect teeth, i saw on the pedestal so many things that i didn't know were there. i saw the names of my brothers and sister inside a heart, my dad's favorite movie, quotes by him how much he considered being mayor, honor bestowed on him, and the things made possible for people who didn't have power, who didn't have voice, there was so much more on that pedestal than death. and, so, i think it's time to reclaim george moscone from the narcissistic legacy or the senselessness of dan white or the well intentioned world of hollywood or the better intentioned world of theater.
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it's time to reclaim him from the places where the real george gets lost in the story of others, even in my own. and we gift him back to the city and to the people, to his friends and to his colleagues and to the citizens who are the fabric and texture and color of san francisco. so, all of us can stop looking at the death of george moscone and start to put him firmly in our hearts so we can see the likes of him in new community leaders, young artists, queer and colorful, innovators and students, all inside our magnificently and uniquely diverse and never-changing city. san francisco will never be what it was, nothing in life will be. but as i heard recently, we are always nostalgic for a time that never was and often wanting to avoid a future that is inevitable. will change in san francisco as in everywhere is inevitable. and change can be beautiful. we are all of us the agents of change. as george and harvey were. each one of us is the story
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teller of our lives and the lives of the people we've lost. and that wasn't always the case, as willie mentioned. but because of the likes of george and harvey and so many others, all the way to our mayor ed lee, all of us have voice. all of us can tell the story. so, let's crowd source this thing. let's tell the real stories of george and harvey. stories of their hard work and politics and the families and loved ones who surrounded them, of the moments we met them on the street or on their campaigns, in the castro or north beach, the vacations, the arguments, the jokes they told, the wild times they lived through, the change they made, and the lives they lived. thank you. (applause)
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>> thank you, jonathan. that was beautiful. i think this is a nice segue into the san francisco gay men's chorus who have been standing here patiently. i would like to introduce them and thank them so much for being here. they're going to sing "love can build a bridge for us." [cheering and applauding] >> [inaudible]. ♪ i gladly walk across the desert
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with no shoes upon my feet to share with you the last bite of bread i had to eat and all -- and i would swim out to save you in your sea of broken dreams when with all your hopes are sinking let me show you what love means ♪ let us build a bridge [speaker not understood] ♪ let us build a bridge don't you think it's time don't you think it's time
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let us stand together [speaker not understood] we can do anything anything anything keep believing in our hearts [speaker not understood] love can build a bridge ♪ [speaker not understood] ♪ [speaker not understood] don't you think it's time, don't you think it's time love can build a bridge [speaker not understood] ♪ ♪ yes, it's time ♪
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[cheering and applauding] >> you have two men who were never afraid to be who they were, even if it meant being different, even if it meant going against the grain. and i think that oftentimes as historic figures become part of the mainstream, we forget that what's so unusual and so unique about george moscone and harvey milk is the fact that they were not afraid to go against the mainstream. and i think that's something that often gets forgotten. and one thing that i want to say, especially when it comes to harvey milk and what he represents to me -- and i say this not only as a gay man, but as a gala -- gay latino man -- for me harvey milks legacy was not so much about lgbt rights, though that was part of it. for me harvey milk was about
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civil rights and the rights of all people and the recognition that we as minimum bier of the lgbt community are connected to other communities, and that we cannot be for lgbt rights if we're also not for the rights of other groups. that we cannot be -- (applause) >> -- only about the lgbt community. that if you believe in gay rights and lgbt rights, that you necessarily have to be for the rights of immigrants. that you necessarily have to be for the rights of women. that you necessarily have to be for the right for anyone who is disinfranchised in society. that to me is the essence of that legacy. * and why it's a legacy that transcends, transcends the lgbt community in terms whatv harvey milk was about. so, as an openly gay latino man, i am grateful for that
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legacy. and i am grateful that harvey milk, that george moscone, have become a beacon of light and hope not only for the lgbt community, but for so many communities throughout this country. and not just this country, but the world. and, so, that is what's so special, is that it's a legacy that transcends san francisco and it's truly a worldwide legacy. so, it is my honer to be here tonight. i also want to acknowledge a couple of people that are in the audience. * honor we saw the acknowledgments of the mayors, of the members of the board of supervisors. i also see former supervisor bevan dufty who is in the audience that represented the castro district that was also represented by harvey milk. (applause) >> i see our city attorney, dennis herrera who is here and whose office has been fighting for the rights of our community to marry the person they love. (applause) >> so thank you, dennis. i see donna who is another
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institution in the lgbt community. [cheering and applauding] >> so, in closing, i want to say that the way that i remember george moscone, the way that i remember harvey milk is to simply be true to who i am and to not be afraid to be who i am, even if it means doing and being something that is unpopular at times. thank you. (applause) >> thank you so much, supervisor. i wanted to acknowledge our co-sponsors today, the san francisco -- san francisco. the harvey milk foundation which was started by stuart milk and myself, worked to put this on in partnership with the san francisco harvey milk gay democratic club, gay and lesbian democratic club, the harvey milk civil rights academy and of course the gay men's chorus who are performing here tonight. so, on that note i'm going to
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turn this over to my dear friend stuart who is harvey's nephew and someone himself who has been speaking out all around the world for civil rights and equality for all. stuart? [cheering and applauding] >> thank you. it's very interesting thanksgiving this week. i was mentioning to the moscone family did not fall on this remembrance. and therefore, the milk family, we were all together and we actually had a little bit more joy because we did have a week that separated it. it's a very tough time for my family since 1978. it's difficult to try to explain. i don't think i could have done as good of a job as jonathan, how tough that is. harvey was a part of every
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milestone, large and small in my life, for 17 years. and i just can't attempt to explain that loss in words. but there is a connection with the emotions that jonathan shared and that i have shared with rebecca that goes beyond my ability to put the warmth of these remembrances here in san francisco, the meaning of that. for me it has been a bright spot that in sometimes frigid temperatures i've been here and you all have come out and warmth we've come out. we've walked actually together to the castro and we've walked back from the castro here. we've interchanged that over the years. but that does give a lot of solace to the milk family and i deeply appreciate that. my uncle's legacy is being kept alive, not just by those wonderful people that we see here who spoke, the mayor and
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mayor brown, mayor lee, those that have gone on into the state senate and the state assembly, by those that have gone on to the national stage representing not only the lgbt community, but every marginalized community we've had in this country. the chorus that i'll talk about in a minute who got their first public performance on the night that harvey and george were taken from us. but mayor brown called them two extraordinary individuals. actually, mayor brown shared that with me four years ago. it has stayed with me. harvey and george, they put in place, as the mayor said, a foundation of what we see today in equality and justice. we actually live in an extraordinary time because of the shoulders created by george and harvey. we live in an extraordinary moment because each of you
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believe you're worthy because each of you have a gift of authenticity to offer the world. and each of you are here tonight with not only the moscone and milk family, but the true meaning of the human family, in remembrance of the sacrifices that have taken us to get us here and as a sacred reminder not to forget and not to go back. supervisor ammiano very brilliantly brought up harvey was tremendously impacted by world war ii. i wear his class ring from high school. he graduated in 1947, just a couple years after the end of world war ii. he could never understand how communities could turn on themselves. and he was, i really think he made a sacred intention to light that message to the world, that we can't go back. in the u.s. today we have so much to be proud of. the last door that i knocked on
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on november the 5th campaigning for president obama, a dignified elderly 92 year old woman named bernice opened the door in my get out the vote identification, identified her supporting equality. and she looked at me and she looked at my official obama pen that said lgbt for obama and she looked at me with tears in her eyes and she said, our time has really come, hasn't it? we both cried. that moment with bernice takes some of the pain of this day away. on this day i always feel a heightened affinity with my uncle for this was that night 34 years ago that i had to first reflect on my own conversations with harvey. anyone who has had conversations with harvey will know, you cannot get away easy. and he didn't let me as a
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teenager get away easy either. i had to reflect about the meaning of those conversations. it was a day that i had to look hard at what his love and guidance would mean to me that that was gone, that i could only think of the words and the conversations that we had. my uncle was moved by all extraordinary heroes of authenticity that he would see, particularly when it wasn't pretty or easy for them. that is in many ways where the milk foundation is today. we will go where no one else will go. we will go when other organizations and activists had said no. we will go where there seems to be little hope. harvey -- i feel this tremendous affinity when i see a tape of a newscaster saying to harvey, we couldn't get anyone else, so, we got you. and harvey said, i know, you couldn't find anyone else, you got me. let's discuss the issues. because we usually -- i usually am the last person called, so,
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we don't say no, we go. so, let me introduce you tonight to just one person who represents thousands across the world. his name is malan rosa. i told jonathan this story and i decided to include it here. he's someone who reached out to us because he couldn't get anyone else. central europe last year, budapest, the czech republic had gone from a leading country in central europe, leading the region in laws and in the constitution of equality 16 years ago to a complete reversal today. it's got one of the worst records today of the deprivation of rights of women, roma people, jews, and lgbt people. sound familiar, that grouping? i was not prepared for what i was going to find in budapest. i was not prepared for the
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thousands ofneo nazis and state sanctioned militia that would meet a couple hundred marchers, thousands of them. * there was one young man, 21 years old, young hungarian, who would be the only person to go on tv with me, only hungarian, malan would take a blow horn and walk through the streets against families that hated us, and he walked and he shouted and he kept the morale up as we were walking against this sea of people who didn't like us because we were representing the inclusion and diversity that we so much cherish here. he was inspired by the story of my uncle and he said to me, do you think this is how harvey felt? and i said to him, it's exactly how harvey felt. now, after the march i learned
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that malan had refused to go into the one sponsor that the pride had left, which was a bar, because they wouldn't let in people from the roma community. and he said, no, that is not the way we're going to do things. and he wouldn't go in. when i left and when i landed back in the u.s., i found out that malan also had another struggle. he went home that night and because he was on tv and because he was the spokesperson for hungarian pride, he walked in to find his father hanging. malan's courage doesn't end there. i spent a long time that week skyping with him, encouraging him to go on. he was very depressed. i got an urgent call a week later for the first pride ever in prague. and the president of the czech republic, this is 2011, said,
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ask the people, president class, to rise up and put down the lgbt pride to stop -- to stop the promotion of homosexualism and deviancy. and i went. and when i was picked up at the airport, they said that they were struggling with one of those street-long rainbow flags, but they had reached out across central europe and there was a young man who heard their call and was taking a nine-hour overnight bus to bring them that street-long pride flag. his name was malan rosa. i said, i want to go pick him up. he had no place to stay. he had to scrounge up the money. but this is the type of courage that we see following harvey and george around the world. he had just buried his father
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who blamed his suicide on his son. he was weary and bruised, yet he still got up and did what needs to be done. extraordinary individuals. so, let me just say that for malan's story, i have the honor next month -- i had been invited to the white house, and i'm taking malan with me to introduce him to the president and the first lady. and i & i'm taking malan because i want him and hundreds of activists that have faced a life very much like what harvey and george faced 34 years ago, i want them to know that they have a president, that they have mayors, that they have supervisors, that they have family members, that they have a nation and a continent that is not just moving ourselves forward with equality, but we're not going to leave them behind, that we stand there with them. [cheering and applauding]
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>> let me close with the words of my uncle, many of very few people have heard some of my uncle's words. i love the fact that jonathan brought up hollywood. my uncle was not someone who met someone on a subway and said, i didn't do anything in the first half of my life. that's good for hollywood. the reality is that he had in his very makeup a belief in justice and equality. for in 1951, my uncle was writing a column at albany state teachers college about -- and i'm going to read you -- the one that he wrote entitled ordinary and extraordinary. sometimes i think harvey almost makes these things happen that we all talked about the same thing. so, he said in the article, "i have yet to meet anyone who was